MONDAY, Jun 1 2009 — "Think" sloganeer / Insurance provider since 1850 / Norse race of gods / Suffix with ball

Monday, June 1, 2009


Constructor: John Farmer

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "THE TONIGHT SHOW" (58A: With 59-Across, TV home for this puzzle's five featured TV personalities) - five full names of former and current "Tonight Show" hosts are placed throughout the grid

Word of the Day: Thomas H. INCE - "Now often forgotten [that's for sure], Thomas Ince was a giant in the early days of silent films. He began directing shorts in 1911 and was particularly known for his Westerns, many starring cowboy star William S. Hart [...] Ince is also known for his untimely 1924 death aboard the yacht of William Randolph Hearst; officially he died of heart trouble, but Hollywood rumor of the time suggested he had been shot by Hearst in a dispute over actress Marion Davies. [...] The Cat's Meow, a 2002 Peter Bogdanovich film based on the death of Ince, starred Cary Elwes as Ince and Kirsten Dunst as Marion Davies. [ELWES was clued via "The Cat's Meow" just a few days ago!]

Tonight will be CONAN O'BRIEN'S first night hosting the "Tonight Show" after the departure of Jay Leno, so this is a timely commemorative puzzle. What an amazing discovery it must have been to find that the first and last names of three of the hosts are identical in length to each other — you're half way to symmetry without even trying. The shuffling of the remaining answers to get them into symmetrical order is the really impressive feature of this puzzle. That, and, and then getting the whole extremely theme-dense grid to work at all. 66 squares, with no section of the puzzle free from the theme's influence. Every nook and cranny has at least one theme answer slicing through it. A fine construction for this momentous (to some) occasion. If you liked Jay, don't worry. NBC will be changing its name to "The Jay Leno" network and bringing safe, bland, and cheap "entertainment" to you @ 10pm every weekday. It's the scheduling move that inspired their new network slogan: "We Give Up." (They still have "The Office" and "30 Rock," so I can't revile them too much)

Theme answers:

  • 1A: With 66-Across, first in a series of live TV personalities (1954-57) (STEVE / ALLEN)
  • 6A: With 65-Across, second in a series of five TV personalities (1957-62) (JACK / PAAR)
  • 17A: Fifth in a series of five TV personalities (starting June 1, 2009) (CONAN O'BRIEN)
  • 19A: With 22-Across, fourth in a series of five TV personalities (1992-2009) (JAY / LENO)
  • 34A: With 35-Across, third in a series of five TV personailities (1962-92) (JOHNNY / CARSON) - rightly at the center of the grid.

To get this theme-dense beast to get up an run, some compromises had to be made to the overall quality of the non-theme fill. First, there are just a Ton of abbrevs. Too many to list. But the really noticeable problem areas were the Ohio region, where the utterly unMondayish and unknown (to me) INCE (29D: Early film director Thomas H. _____) abuts the very desperate partial A MEAN (24D: "He doesn't have _____ bone in his body"). AESIR isn't the most Mondayish of answers either (24A: Norse race of gods), but it should at least be familiar to constant crossworders. I once built an entire puzzle around the word AESIR - but after one rejection (a wonderful, helpful rejection from Patrick Berry), before I could get it resubmitted, a puzzle with the same basic concept got published in New York Sun [shakes fist at sky and shouts "Joon!!!!"] and so it's just sitting on my computer somewhere. I might publish it here someday. It was probably the most solid, least teetery puzzle I've constructed so far.

The other part of the puzzle that was manifestly not so hot was the far SW. My wife still isn't quite over her consternation at OON (61A: Suffix with ball). "OON? .... Really, OON? It's a suffix??" We first tried to guess what the suffix meant, and then tried to think of other words that used it. POLTROON? MAROON? PONTOON? Ooh, does it mean 'floating?' What does "OON" mean? OON over NOS is yuck, so it's a good thing the whole mess is shoved down in the corner, where few are likely to notice it (I didn't see it at all, for instance, as I dropped those 6-letter Downs 1-2-3).

Bullets:

  • 40A: Scot's cap (tam) - part of a millinery sub-theme that also includes BEANIE (11D: Close-fitting cap) and STL (60D: Letters on a Cardinals cap)
  • 43A: Despise (abominate) - a perfectly good word that no one ever uses. ABOMINATION, yes. ABOMINATE ... less so. "I abominate you!" Hard to take seriously.
  • 4D: U.S. broadcaster overseas (VOA) - Voice of America. I started to write in USO at first...
  • 10D: How quips are delivered (in jest) - true enough, and yet quips can (I think) be quite withering, where "IN JEST" implies a certain harmlessness or lack of seriousness.
  • 52D: Insurance provider since 1850 (Aetna) - had the "A" and went with ... AFLAC. Spokesduck!
  • 50A: Taunt (gibe at) - as in "let's go GIBE AT that guy we ABOMINATE"

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

My write-up of today's LAT puzzle is here.

73 comments:

retired_chemist 8:40 AM  

Ditto Rex on the construction. Very nice.

As a long time Tonight Show fan, I enjoyed this puzzle. Good Monday fare celebrating Conan’s first show. There was, however, a distressing feeling of doing a People Mag puzzle – there were more names than the theme answers. At least all these were in my wheelhouse, which they often aren’t.

AESIR (24A) is known to me only from crosswords but it’s unforgettable. Got it without crosses.

CYAN (32D) and MAGENTA (41D) are two of the three subtractive primary colors. If Mr. Farmer could have fit YELLOW (the third) in, it would have been a neat secondary theme.

Not a lot else to say. Straightforward.

foodie 9:00 AM  

Agreed with Rex in general and especially with Sandy re OON-- a suffix meaning?? But yeah, BRIGADOON, MACAROON, ... it's out there. I guess a conversion of "ON" from French to point to emphasis on the last syllable?

I feel this is another puzzle where the solving experience does not match the feat of construction. I understand the reason behind the timing of publication, but intrinsically, this seems better suited to a Tuesday. There were places where the answers were ridiculously easy, as if to compensate for the others that were clearly non Mondayish. And I agree with RT that in the end, the theme is too full of names, so did not induce a chuckle or an insight. Still, more admiration than ABOMINATion.

PIX 9:06 AM  

Don't ever watch the Tonight Show so fully agree with Retired Chemist it felt like something that should be in People Magazine.

@Ulrich (or whoever is the German specialist)...what's the difference between (99)"Luft Balons" and (99) "Balons"? In English an "air balloon" would be redundant; if Luft=air in German, is it also redudant in German?

Brendan Emmett Quigley 9:09 AM  

Quite solid, even though it's one of those "you know it or you don't" themes. But ... I liked it. This is an example of a well-made Monday puzzle. The only complaint I have is that nobody under the age of 35 watches broadcast TV let alone "The Tonight Show," so much for catering to all-ages.

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

Nice puzzle; too bad there wasn't a place for KOVACS to go with ERNIE at 5-down....

treedweller 9:22 AM  

AMEAN doesn't bother me much (partials can go too far, but generally are not a problem for me). ONE crossing INCE threw me, though. Not that ONE is so tough, but "Two halves" seems to suggest "no longer ONE" to me. I got it, but had my doubts, and messed around there a bit trying to find my mistake (which turned out to be a careless typo in the SW).

But, god bless Johnny Carson, and I can't wait to see if Conan can pull off the switch to 11:30pm, and may the prime time gods finally send LENO to whatever stale, trite, banal, annoying hell he's doomed to occupy after people get sick of him taking up space that could be filled by "Law & Order: St Louis".

mac 9:27 AM  

Good puzzle and perfect write-up. I liked the puzzle because there was so much more to it than the regular Monday ones, and I did happen to know these characters. A little silly fill here and there didn't hurt it too much.

Good start to the week!

Orange 9:29 AM  

I was going to dispute Brendan's point because I do sometimes watch network TV—and then I remembered that I'm over 35. On the bright side for the network, NBC doesn't need more than a handful of younger viewers watching Leno in prime time as the show will be so damn cheap to produce. If he gets lame but workable ratings, watch for the other nets to put on similar shows in prime time and further nudge the younger generations far, far away.

Thanks for posting the German version of the Nena video, Rex. It always perplexed me that the German air-balloons turned into "99 Red Balloons" in English, but I guess that sounded catchier than "99 Air-Balloons."

Enjoyed the theme, but sure didn't know INCE without crossings.

XMAN 9:31 AM  

A ballOON was originally a spherical bag filled with air that was kicked as part of a game called...balloon.

So easy as to leave me breathless, partly because I'd just read an article about The Tonight Show in the NYT. (A benefit of solving from the source.)

A note to a late contributor last night: I think you are right about PRIVATEPRACTICE. (Hope you are reading this, esp. since you're a new contributor.)

johnpag 9:41 AM  

A belated note about yesterday's puzzle. 40A "CDE" also appeared yesterday in Henry Hook's puzzle in the Boston Globe, clued identically as "Do, re, mi" and in Merle Reagle's puzzle in the Philadelphia Inquirer, clued as "Do re mi, perhaps".

I've been doing crosswords "seriously" for a couple of years now and, while I've seen repeated cluing in different puzzles within a day or two of one another, this is the first time I've seen the same clue in three major puzzles on the same day, Sunday, no less!

What's up?

Ulrich 9:42 AM  

@PIX: A Luftballon is a toy, distinguished e.g. from a Wetterballon ("weather balloon") [The Germans took over the French spelling]. I discovered recently that kids now also construct Wasserballons, contraptions that were unknown to me as a kid and that I first encountered in Calvin and Hobbes, my favorite cartoon strip of all time.

(Nothing to add to Rex re. the puzzle.)

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

Ball - OON eek! Instead of wondering what other words used the suffix "oon", I wondered what other suffixes could go with "ball".

Balladeer
Ballistic
Ballast

Are there any others? Some of these don't seem to be related to the word "ball".

This puzzle was more admirable as a feat of construction than as a solving experience, IMO.

Uh, what do people under 35 watch??

Mike 9:51 AM  

I thought it was OK. While I appreciate the construction feat and all, it didn't translate into a particularly enjoyable puzzle for me. A lot of the fill, like the aforementioned INCE and OON, felt really forced to me, and not very Mondayish at all. Also, GIBE AT really seemed odd, although that one I'm pretty much fine with.

Overall, a solid timely theme, but I think the amount of theme squares, as well as the speed with which this needed to be put out, made this feel clunkier than usual, especially in relation to other excellent John Farmer puzzles.

joho 9:59 AM  

"Heeeere's Johnny!" (Farmer, that is) ... who's Monday puzzle was a cut above most starts to the week in my opinion.

I admired the construction and had fun doing it, pen in one hand ballOON in the other.

jeff in chicago 10:05 AM  

Fun. Timely. A Brief History of (After Prime) Time. Liked it.

I was in California in (I think) 1990 and decided to try to see a taping of The Tonight Show. Showed up to find a very long line, but since I was alone I made it in to fill a single seat. Made the mistake, though, of going on a Monday, and Martin Mull was guest-hosting. He did an opening bit that got me on camera, so that was cool. As the show is taped in the afternoon, I was able to call home and tell everyone to watch for me on the Tee-Vee that night.

Determined to see Johnny, I went back the next night, and again managed to get a seat. Fantastic! While the aired show was only an hour, the in-studio show was much longer. As the audience was ushered in, the band was rehearsing/playing. After a few songs, band leader Doc Severinsen did some stand-up-type schtick for the audience, ending with introducing show producer Fred de Cordova, who also did some comedy. At the end of his bit he introduced Ed McMahon, who did even more stand-up, perfectly timed to end, at 5:30 (taping time), with listing that night's guests and the famous "... and now, he-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-ere's Johnny!" Easily more than 2 hours of show.

I also recall that Morgan Fairchild was a guest that night. She wore this skin-tight, sequined red dress. Oh my. (The things that stick in your mind, eh?) And just getting to hear the band play during the commercial pauses (why they do that for a taped show I don't understand) was worth the effort to get in.

Sorry for the long post. It's a fond memory.

PIX 10:11 AM  

@Treedweller:My dead tree edition of the puzzle has 33A as "two halved", not two halves. Two halved, is indeed one.

@Ulrich: thanks for the explanation!

jetgirl 10:15 AM  

Well, as someone who is not yet in the league of some of you Fri-Sat puzzle solvers, I have to disagree a little. I get the timeliness of it, but I didn't enjoy solving this puzzle. I am slightly over 35 and I don't watch the Tonight Show, and never have. I knew the names, mostly from crosswords and from the tv guide, but I thought it made for a boring puzzle. Overall, as a fan of the Mon-Wed puzzles, I would rather have a clever, quirky theme than a constructor's challenge. Must have been fun to make, but I didn't find it fun to solve. Oh, well.

I like reading Rex's blog because I have put "Get a puzzle published by the NYT" on my list of "stuff to do before I die" and I like seeing what Rex and his followers have to say. If I ever do get a puzzle published, it is my goal not to be GIBED AT or ABOMINATED by Rex. Thanks for a great blog, Rex. I am learning so much :-)

HudsonHawk 10:18 AM  

Fun, timely puzzle (as XMAN mentioned, there was an article about the change on the front page of the Arts section today).

As an aside, I wonder if we'll hear even less from Evil Doug now that the NYT has gone to a $2.00 newsstand price.

Crosscan 10:22 AM  

Heeeeeeerrrrrrrreeee's Crosscan!

1977. My sister and I were visiting our uncle in Los Angeles. He got us tickets to the Tonight Show. I was 14 but had to pretend
I was 16, the minimum age to get in. The guest host was Steve Martin, arrow-in-head and all. Bill Cosby was a guest.

Yikes, that story is nearly 35 years old! But I'm only 29!

This may have been the first puzzle I got all the theme answers just by reading the clue for 1 across. Still average time for a Monday. Jumping around clues work better on paper.

Rex Parker 10:37 AM  

@treedweller,

You have made me legitimately LOL several times in the past month. Just wanted to say thanks. If you ever have any interest in the glamorous world of guest-blogging, just let me know.

rp

Z.J. Mugildny 10:50 AM  

Apparently "-oon" doesn't really have much of a meaning. It is just used to form new nouns. But it's in the dictionary and people have heard of it, so I guess it's acceptable constructor's-in-a-pinch fill.

Put me in the camp of under-35ers who don't watch network TV (unless sports count). Watching TV shows on DVD is the way to do it. http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/watching_tv_shows_on_dvd

Charles Bogle 10:58 AM  

Super write-up Rex and I'm w your wife on "OON" as a suffix to Ball. But what a Monday morning treat. Once I caught the Tonight Show theme I thought I'd be home free in personal best time, but the constructor wisely added some sub-themes and some arcana (eg, INCE)to avoid relative neophytes like me from getting too cocky!

I liked the byplay of ABOMINATE and INTIMATES...some computerese fortunately at my level (eg, DEBUG). Thank goodness the modern day pulp celebrity references didn't go beyond weekly glances at the front covers of "People" (eg, OLSENS, ASHTON)

More thought than might meet the eye went into this little gem of a puzzle and it was a true joy to complete!

Glitch 11:00 AM  

@Jeff in Chi

Like the one hour "warm up" to get the audience "fired up", the band plays during the commecial breaks to keep the momentum going --- imagine what the audience would be like if they were left alone for 3:10!

.../[From Glitch, The NBC Years]

PS: Those advertisers spending the big bucks to reach the 18-34 demographics are gonna be REALLY surprized if they read today's blog.

fikink 11:10 AM  

@ Mr. Glitch, since this puzzle revolves around contemporary TV fare, is this a good time to ask you for the story of your Emmy? (I promised you I would ask when the puzzle neared that subject.)

Stan 11:14 AM  

Well-done -- the theme really clicked.

Nice that a few letters people might not know (the C in Ince, the E in the Olsen twins) were cleared up in the crosses.

Noam D. Elkies 11:16 AM  

Yes, a nice feat of construction, also Mondayish enough for Downs-only or Downs-mostly solving (though I hardly believed 24A:AESIR), possibly a bit more enjoyable that way because the theme had to be inferred (though even at a superannuated 42 I didn't recongize Steve Allen as the beginning of the series).

I gather from m-w that the -oon in "balloon" did start out as a legitimate suffix, the augmentative Italian -one, also seen in "million" [It. millione, a big mille (thousand)] and "trombone" [a big tromba (trumpet)]. Apropos of "trombone" we also have "bassoon", where the -oon feels more like a suffix than it does in "balloon"; indeed there's also a higher-pitched "tenoroon" of which you can reed — er, read — in Wikipedia.

NDE

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

You mean I get to watch that supercilious ass every day at 10PM?
I ever so like watching him make fun of dumb[er] people.

Stan 11:16 AM  

[Public clamor for the Emmy story]

hazel 11:27 AM  

[while chanting story story story.....]

Can’t get much more LA than this puzzle - aside from the tonight show (awesome symmetry!) and all the west coast “stars” past and present. Loved seeing Johnny AT PEACE - and CARSON paired with DENEUVE - does anybody remember his takeoff on her? Had something to do with a perfume ad, I think. Pretty funny. Wish ITO had been clued as O.J. judge - would have added to the "People" theme.

Great great Monday puzzle for me.

Daniel Myers 11:35 AM  

@Foodie et alia "-oon"ites---

"-oon" is indeed a suffix, according to the unabridged OED, though it is a bit of a muddle. As Foodie suggests, it picks up on French "-on" words - usually those adopted in the 16th-18th century - and usually, but not always connotes "BIG"--"cartoon," for example, was, when originally adopted from the French "carton" = paper, used to denote large, stout paper on which to draw tapestry designs etc. The earliest quotes in English refer quite frequenty to Raphael's cartoons.

Class dismissed. Off to read the funnies.

HudsonHawk 11:57 AM  

Probably wouldn't work for a Monday, but how about cluing -OON with "Fest finish"?

Anne 12:15 PM  

What? There's a Law & Order: St. Louis? How did I miss that? What time does it come on? I think I have at least one hour to spare.

Just kidding.

I liked the puzzle and I liked thinking about the hosts. I am of the Johnny Carson era and I still miss him. I never warmed to Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien is even worse.

I've seen some old clips of Steve Allen who was funny and even more clips of Jack Paar who interviewed everyone, including Jack Kennedy. I've told this story before somewhere, but what the heck. Jack Paar walked off mid-show one night (it was live back then) because of some contract dispute and was off for some time. Eventually the dispute was settled and he walked back on as if nothing had happened and said "Now where was I?" It was really funny.

Campesite 12:18 PM  

Bravo Johnny Farmer!

tekchic 12:28 PM  

As a software developer, I really have to "pick a nit" with the "DEBUG" answer.

"Clear of defects, as software" is not "DEBUG". Perhaps if it was clued "To clear of defects, as software". But "Clear of defects, as software" would lend itself more to BUGFREE, BUGLESS, (I know those don't fit, but you know what I mean).

Count me as one of the 35 and under that don't watch the Tonight Show, although I do know Carson, Leno, and O'Brien. :)

AESIR will have to go into my crossword tool belt.

Karen 12:49 PM  

Johnpag, I noticed that too about the do,re,mi=CDE clues. I expect it's coincidence since the crosswords seem to have a long leadtime, but every so often I wonder if the editors are sharing some type of in-joke or secret tribute.

mac 1:09 PM  

Emmy, Emmy!

jeff in chicago 1:15 PM  

@Glitch: Yeah. I get that the band plays to keep people enthusiastic. I meant why do they take a 3-minute break at all. The commercials aren't playing in the studio. I'm sure it's because it helps them keep the timing of the show better. They clearly still do it today, so it must be a system that works.

chefbea 1:22 PM  

Loved the puzzle!! I met the Paar's many years ago when they were shopping at the grocery store where I was cooking. Nice people.

@Hudson Hawk clue could have been ball ending.

All roads lead to where I will be this time next week. Can't wait. I will miss the crossword puzzles and the blogging. I think the NYTimes puzzle is a week behind in the Herald tribune.

where's the emmy story???

Blanche 1:36 PM  

"Medium"!!!? Could'nt write fast enough to fill in this one. . .

Carmen 1:42 PM  

found this almost unbearably easy. i'm 22 and watched Jay Leno regularly and Conan O'Brien religiously starting in high school. loved the timing of the puzzle though!

Anonymous 2:10 PM  

.


i'm sorry but conan is UNwatchable

i've tried, but i just can't take it, i mean, does he have to act like robin-williams-lite all the time ? do all his jokes and interview questions have to be embelished with his silly antics ?

for me, that only makes it harder to understand what the original comment was

he's a distraction to himself


frankD

capesunset105 2:20 PM  

I met Johnny Carson in 1978, Charles DeGaulle Airport, Paris. I was a teenager and he was roaming the airport unbothered as he was not known in Europe. What a kind, sweet, delightful man. He spent quite a bit of time talking with me and my family, gave autographs, told jokes, listened to us prattle on (yes, like i'm doing here). The best part of this puzzle was reliving that memory. Other than that, too TV Guide for my liking, construction notwithstanding.

Denise 2:50 PM  

About eight minutes, including some time kissing Grandbaby. As soon as the theme was apparent (immediately), I just filled.

About twenty-five years ago, I visited my sister in LA and we went to the Tonight Show. To my delight, Joan Rivers was guest hosting.

What I mainly remember is that my sister and her partner went to a liquor store and bought champagne and some snacks which we drank/ate in the parking lot. It seemed very "cool" to me at the time -- I was the older sister visiting from the east coast, leaving four kids in Maryland to see my gay LA sister.

I think a suffix is a group of letters that is not a word but which effects a change to the meaning of a free-standing word.

Rex, publish your puzzle!

Clark 2:54 PM  

@johnpag and Karen --

What’s up with three different crosswords doing the Do re mi thing on the same day? Here’s a theory. There is this delightful Youtube video that has been making the rounds for some time: Do re mi. I don’t want to say more in case someone hasn’t seen it, but it is worth a watch. Maybe this video has just gotten the song into various constructors’ ears.

Glitch 3:56 PM  

@Jeff in Chi

The tech answer is that the show started "by the clock" (for NBC Letterman, 5:30:30 pm), and once you "rolled tape" you didn't stop til the "fade to black" at the end. No editing, "live on tape" unless something went wrong.

The segments where the band played were "covered" by net and local commecials, but the show ran true to time.

Most VT failures were when a tape started, network shows were played back on mutiple VCR's (then), in sync, in case one failed.

@Anne

Jack Paar's classic walk off was due to the NBC "censor" not allowing him to use "W.C." in a monologue joke, citing "bathroom references" as taboo.

On his return, he told the joke.

@Techchick

Think of "clear" as a verb.

.../Glitch

Glitch 4:16 PM  

OK,, OK, I promised, but will keep it brief so as not to incur the off topic wrath of Rex.

Actually, 6 Emmys, but the ones you don't see on tv, but announced as "given previously at the awards luncheon" (I saved money on the tux rentals).

The Emmy I mentioned a while back, as "on my mantle" (almost wish I hadn't) was for the Barcelona Olympics. The quote on my profile is from the same --- email me for the background if you're curious.

When you watch the awards on tv, the statues are generic, and symbolic, you only get a certificate "suitable for framing". The Academy charges for the statues, so I only have one, (certified check required).

I told you it was going to be anticlimatic.... now, what did I do with that Congressional Medal of honor ...

.../Glitch

PS: Sorry Rex, they made me do it.

PlantieBea 4:27 PM  

Very easy and an appropriate nod to the host turnover. New words/names were AESIR and INCE. Glad to hear the OON explanations in the comments.

Good story Glitch!

dk 4:48 PM  

@glitch, the folks that post here never cease to amaze me.

I hope the Leno show works if only to prove that Eastwick and the other lame shows (aka CSI: St. Louis) thrown up against Leno fail, demonstrating that network produced "dramas" are no longer relevant (they stopped being good years ago).

This puzzle was fun. A trip down memory lane as I remember watching Allen and Paar with the grand-ps on a B&W portable.

I always agree with @joho and the Lady Rex but today.. sigh, I am ok with OON, unless ACME does not like it.

Great fun in MN today as we had the State Supreme court hear the oral arguments for Bush v. Gore... oops so sorry that is Colmen v. Frankin. Say what you will but the bar on stealing an election has been raised.

Two Ponies 5:24 PM  

I thought this was great fun for a Monday.
Ince and Aesir being very un-Mondayish not to mention abominate.
How Mr. Farmer made all of this work is amazing.
But best of all is the conversations it has spawned.
Celeb stories and multiple awards by Glitch. Fun all around.
@ dk, Go Senator Frankin!

imsdave 5:46 PM  

I was a huge fan of this puzzle. I never saw the Allen and Paar editions (except on documentaries), but knew them both instantly - they both had this amazing skill for bringing out the best in their guests. It is, unfortunately, a long lost talent - Mr. Carson had it for many years, but it faded as his long run continued.

It makes me want to re-watch the old gameshows, where everyone was so sharp and witty (What's My Line, The Gary Moore Show, I've Got a Secret) - try and find them all - it was a different age, and I for one shall not forget it.

imsdave 5:48 PM  

Oops - The Gary Moore show was I've Got a Secret - I meant To Tell the Truth.

joho 6:05 PM  

@Glitch ... that is so cool. I'm going out on a limb here, but I'll wager you have six more Emmy's than the rest of us!

Glitch 6:11 PM  

@Imsdave

Actually there was both The Gary Moore Show and I've Got a Secret, which he hosted. When the former was cancelled, he quit the latter and was replaced by Steve Allen, also known for The Tonight Show (makes this post "on topic"! ;-).

Altho the punctuation mark police may get me for the end of that last sentence.

.../Glitch

4 of 3 and out, guilty with an explaination --- "they" made me do it.

Brian 6:14 PM  

@Brendan: not only the under-35's.. . I'm 41 and none of my friends watch the Tonight show. While I'm aware of the change in hosts, the show seems like a previous-century holdover. Without wordplay or a special twist, the puzzle didn't sing. Sorry, the thematic density doesn't guarantee entertainment.

PhillySolver 6:19 PM  

The Gentleman form Philadelphia cedes his remaining two comments to Glitch. Thanks Glitch for the story.
I had an Oscar in my office from 'Gentleman's Agreement' for a few weeks while my school prepared a musical recital based on Oscar winning songs. Cool stuff.
Loved the puzzle and continue to be impressed by John Farmer. He provides very interesting commentary on the blogs as well about his craft.

chefbea 6:36 PM  

Just remembered..one of my classmates from STL won an emmy when she was working for CBS news.

PuzzleGirl 6:57 PM  

I'm a little too young to have had the total Johnny Carson experience, but I've never been a big Leno fan either. Actually, I'm more of a Letterman gal and this puzzle reminded me of the show Letterman did as a tribute to Johnny Carson shortly after his death. This part is touching — Dave explains that any success he has can be directly attributed to Johnny Carson. And in this part Dave shows an awesome highlight reel of the times a retired Johnny Carson made appearances on Dave's show.

Oh, and I thought the puzzle was a winner.

jeff in chicago 7:35 PM  

The Tonight Show sure has its history, but for my money, Craig Ferguson is the funniest man on late-night today.

joho 8:57 PM  

@PuzzleGirl ... thanks for the wonderful clips. Makes me miss Johnny Carson. He was something else. I've never taken to Jay Leno. It will be interesting to see how Conan does ... I guess. I'm asleep at 11:30!

Glitch 9:07 PM  

@joho

TIVO

.../ can't be Glitch, he already posted too many today

foodie 9:14 PM  

@Glitch, that's terrific! I still don't know what you're great at, but you're obviously truly great at something!

PS. When TNT next shows up in the puzzle, one of you can ask me...

Larry 9:46 PM  

All the names reminded me of the puzzle from several years back that had all of the names of Elizabeth Taylor's seven or eight husbands.

Treedweller: Law & Order: St. Louis seems forced to me. I know you had to go with NBC, but it is CSI that opens branch offices in out of the way cities. L&O hits sub departments of NY's finest, e.g. Law & Order: Wild Animal Control. Perhaps the comment could have been: Jay Leno knocking off such lame competition as CSI:Binghamton.

Larry 9:49 PM  

Ince seems like an overlooked crossword personage. If Emil Jennings can extend his silent career into the 21st Century, then surely Mr. Ince can too.

treedweller 10:05 PM  

@PIX Fair enough, two halved is ONE. Once again, I get a penalty for speeding.

@Denise You remind me of the time I went to the Tonight Show. Jay Leno was guest hosing. Oh, I mean hosting. No, wait, I think I had it right the first time.

@Rex Guest blogging would be an honor and a privilege. I'll try not to pull a Leno when my number comes up.

@Larry I usually don't try to explain jokes, since there's no way to win, but at 5 till Tuesday I suppose a little pedantic ramble won't hurt. I was deliberately conflating CSI and L&O because they all suck equally. Which puts them about two steps above Leno.

Anyone sensing a theme here? Ironically, I liked Leno before he decided he was obligated to remove all humor from his act so as not to offend the oldsters who watch the Tonight Show. Doubly ironically, I liked the show when I was young and Johnny was on, and I hate it now that I'm old and Leno is on. Although now I'm remembering a conversation about irony here and I suspect I'm using the word wrong. But you all know what I mean (all two of you who are still reading).

mac 10:44 PM  

Congratulations Glitch! And 6!

@Foodie: very funny, I think.....?

Crosscan 11:01 PM  

Take a puzzle, give it a theme that transcends age, education, geography and background and you get a fascinating discussion, from write-up to comments, that lasts all day.

From Emmy winners to those who can barely work a remote, all can have an opinion and are welcome to express it.

And that, boys and girls, is why we come back here day after day.

Have you donated to Rex's site lately?

Stan 11:30 PM  

Thanx for the story, @Glitch.

@Rex: We made him do it.

Nice wrap-up, @Crosscan

Yawn...

Lisa in Kingston 11:49 PM  

To add more would seem to be stupid of me, but I know Andrea will be here soon, so here's me being stupid before Acme offers what I am sure will be stellar:
In the 70's whenever I heard the Tonight Show theme song --Dah dat dah dah dah, dallyoontdah dah! --I knew it was past my bedtime. My mom was a nightowl and now I think she had a thing for pop culture that I hadn't realized before. That, and maybe by 1 a.m. my Dad's snoring had ceased!
This puzzle was a breeze for me, and I really appreciate it's construction. Nice puzzle, John Farmer, and Rex, great write-up. And commenters, you might need a Webby!

Bill from NJ 12:06 AM  

I'm fond of Old Hollywood stories like the Fatty Arbuckle/Virginia Rapp story and particularly todays tidbit- the William Ince/Marion Davies/William Randolph Hearst triangle. Hearst and Davies were the principals on whom "Citizen Kane" was based. Not just gossip but delicious gossip.

Ah, they don't make gossip the way they used to.

foodie 12:13 AM  

@mac, definitely kidding...but thanks for wondering : )

Larry 1:27 AM  

Treed: My deconstructing your joke was sort of in the spirit of Rex slicing and dicing the daily crossword. I enjoy your posts as well and think you would be great as a guest blogger.

Joon 5:31 PM  

sorry. i wasn't trying to steal anyone's thunder god.

Friends of Troy Chapman 5:51 PM  

As a magazine editor, I liked it that, not only did CYAN and MAGENTA appear in the same puzzle, but next to each other and in that order. Of course they are the first two colors in the four-color model of CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) used by printers.

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